Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo of WIUX
Logo of WIUX
Logo of WIUX
Culture Shock

Getting Silly with Merce Lemon

WIUX’s annual Culture Shock festival was last week, April 13th, in the glorious Dunn Meadow. The turnout was fantastic, with students sprawled out across the field throughout the whole day. Pittsburgh-local band Merce Lemon had a great crowd, and an even better performance at the festival. After they killed it on stage, I snagged them for a bit to talk about their experiences as a band, personal opinions on music, and most importantly, fruit preferences.

Merce Lemon played the latter half of the festival, bringing the crowd back together after the halfway intermission. They kept the energy high while playing more mellow tunes on stage, featuring songs like “I See a Darkness” and “Will You Do Me a Kindness,” their latest release. Merce Lemon is comprised of 5 members; Merce provides vocals and guitar, Pat Coyle plays drums and sings harmonies, Reid Magette plays guitar, Ben Brody is on bass, and their newest member, Justin Long, plays violin for the group.

“Me and Benji have been playing in this band the longest together, the last, almost 2 years? Then everyone else, like a year and a half, and Justin just started playing violin with us,” said Merce.

I asked the band to define their sound with just one word, a difficult task to say the least. Immediately, Merce had the word.

“What’s that license plate we saw today? Skibble? Skibble. We can all agree on skibble.”

If anyone out there knows who drives the Skibble car, please reach out to me. I need to know for my own peace of mind (and so I can steal the license plate for my own.)

Merce Lemon is signed with DIY label Darling Records, which was birthed right here in Bloomington, Indiana. Created by former WIUX members, Darling Records has a variety of artists signed from all across the nation. The members of Merce Lemon find local scenes and DIY labels to be incredibly important to their success, citing Crafted Sounds, a Pennsylvania label, as the first to ever produce their music.

“The label Crafted Sounds that Connor [Murray] started in his PIT dorm… He was the first one to put out our music. So yeah, I wouldn’t have had tapes and had physical copies of this music if it wasn’t for him. And the same with Darling, they’ve been insanely supportive,” said Merce.

Reid spoke on their passion for Pittsburgh scene and the support it has provided the band, saying it was a rare space to have. “Pittsburgh’s DIY scene is like, so kind and supportive in a way that is really idiosyncratic. I know a lot of people say that about their town, but people really root for each other in a really special way, and there’s so much different stuff going on. You see so many people from different walks of the scene at disparate kind of gigs, and that’s really cool.”

In the future, the group hopes to expand their reach and play shows across the globe. Reid in particular hopes to play in Oslo, Norway someday, as they apparently have a great scene over there. Who knew Norway had it goin’ on? Canada, however, is a sore subject for some of the members. 

When I asked the band where they’d love to play, Reid jumped in with a mournful “I would love to go to more of Canada…” and cast a longing glance towards Merce. The group burst into laughter, and Merce explained that “Reid looked at me because last time we were supposed to play in Canada, I was like ‘You guys better have your passports, get your shit together!’ And then two days before I’m filling out the forms and I’m like ‘Oh my God… my passport is expired!’ and Reid was like ‘I wanted to go to Canada!’” Here’s to hoping that Merce Lemon and co. can eventually make it up North! A lesson to all — make sure your passports are renewed before you intend to travel!


Members from left to right: Pat Coyle, Reid Magette, Merce Lemon, Justin Long, Ben Brody

Merce Lemon just released their newest single, “Will You Do Me a Kindness” on March 27, 2024, and confirmed that even more is on the way soon.

“Definitely keep your eyes peeled…There’s more music that’s coming very soon!” said Merce.

I couldn’t let these guys leave without totally embarrassing myself, so of course I had to ask a silly question. I let the band name inspire me… Merce Lemon… lemon…hmm...

Naturally, I asked everyone what their favorite fruits are, and why.

Justin started us off, saying papayas are at the top of his list currently. 

“They’re just great, I don’t know. I was in Mexico last year and I feel like I just had a bunch of really good papayas. I’m just wanting to relive that. They were recently selling them at the co-op in our neighborhood and I was just like ‘This is amazing!’” He also is known to eat grapefruits frequently, according to Merce. 

Next, Pat answered with a controversial take.

“I recently roasted grapes for the first time.”

I didn’t even know that roasting fruits was an option! Merce was on my side, dubbing herself as staunchly “anti-hot fruit.” 

Pat defended himself, saying there was “also like brussel sprouts, and lettuce, and goat cheese…” Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you try it I guess!

Merce confirmed that her favorite fruit is in fact, not a lemon, but rather a tie between raspberries and blueberries. 

“I think berries are the most precious fruit. I think it’s between blueberry and raspberry, but when a raspberry is good, it’s like the most beautiful little thimble. I can’t even explain my love for the raspberry. And I’ve written a song about blueberries, so.”

(Keep an eye out for the blueberry song — it may be out soon!)

Reid is “having kind of a pear moment lately,” which is an incredible moment to be having. “[It’s a] real team player in a salad and I think they get a bad rep. I also think melons get kind of a bad rep. I will say, ‘always smell and salt your melons.’” 

Ben brought us back to a classic favorite, the pineapple. “I like pineapple. It has a powerful mouth feeling– It’s more of an experience,” he said. I’ve been in need of a good, powerful pineapple ever since he said this. Let me know if anyone has a pineapple guy that can hook me up…

I wrapped up the interview by asking each member for a bit of advice. 

Reid hit us with some aforementioned fruit advice: “Always smell and salt your melons!”

Pat simply stated “Skibble.” 

Merce recalled some familial advice, saying “My sister told me that if you had to pick between flossing and brushing your teeth every day, that it’s better to pick flossing.” Make sure to floss, everyone! But not the dance move, because Pat will beat you in a floss dance contest any day.

If you happened to miss Merce Lemon at Culture Shock this past weekend, be sure to check out their music on streaming platforms everywhere, and keep an eye out for their new music that is coming soon! Merce Lemon is constantly playing shows, so check out their social media to see when you can catch them in the future!


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
Terms and Privacy All Content © 2024 WIUX